Saturday, July 03, 2010

P-Noy is Committing Blunder by Appointing Dr. Ona - HEAD

Health Alliance for Democracy(HEAD)
Email: Telefax: 632-7254760

Press Release
July 3, 2010

Reference: Dr. Geneve Rivera, Secretary General
Mobile: 0920-4603712

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) said that the appointment of new DOH chief reveals that the direction of the Aquino’s policy agenda on health is towards privatization. Through privatization the government relinquishes its responsibility in providing for the health needs of the Filipino people.

The wariness of the appointment comes from the fact that Dr. Enrique T. Ona, the former director of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) is a staunch advocate of privatization and commercialization of public health services.

The group noted that Dr. Ona is a leading peddler of medical tourism program in which the organ transplant is its core program. The program caters to the needs of those who can afford while it disregards the poor. HEAD criticizes this program for being pro-rich and exploitative of the poor.

Dr. Ona is one of the chief architect of the integration of government owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) - specialty hospitals into a “mega hospital” including the Philippine Heart Center, NKTI, Lung Center of the Philippines, East Avenue Medical Center, and the Philippine Children Medical Center.

The integration is geared towards developing health facilities and equipment to generate huge profit out of health services but not to provide affordable services to the majority of Filipinos.

Dr. Ona is also known for his revenue enhancement programs, user fee schemes that disregards charity patients and favors pay patients.

“The people needs a DOH secretary who has strong sense of public service and not profit oriented,” Rivera said.

“We view that wrestling the woes of the country’s public health system and addressing the health needs of the poor would be dangerous to be left in the hands of a bureaucrat heavily biased on revenue enhancement rather than service and public accountability” said Rivera.

Earlier, President’s Aquino said his cabinet appointments will be entirely based with the appointees’ agreement with his general plans of action. If Dr. Ona is President Aquino’s person of choice to fill the health department, then this will be telling of how government’s health program will be like.

“Privatization is one of the main obstacles in the accessibility of the people’s right to health and addressing it should be an utmost concern of the Aquino administration, by appointing the likes of Dr. Ona only worsens the situation.” Dr. Rivera said. ###

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